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ZDNet UK's Rupert Goodwins takes a look at how humans have dealt with storage issues from the beginning of recorded history.
Computing and human civilization are useless without data storage. States and cultures have relied on it for more than 5,000 years, but recently we've become rather good at making it fast, capacious and small. Here's a canter through the history of one of our most enduring technologies.
The first systematic data storage system was the cuneiform writing system, which kicked off in around 3400BCE. Although it evolved into a complete written language, it started off as a way to count and categorise agricultural production and, inevitably, to calculate taxes.
Made by pressing a stylus into a clay tablet, the writing could be rubbed out subsequently — or the tablet could be baked for more permanent storage.
Thousands of legible tablets and other inscriptions survive, an impressive feat that we're unlikely to duplicate with modern technology. However, storage capacity is limited, with a single mobile phone-sized tablet maxing out at around 500 bytes.
Photo credit: Library of Congress